Be Our Guest!
We love it when our friends and family come to visit, so much so that our guest bedroom was actually the first room we started renovating in the whole house! We’ve been very intentional about creating a comfortable and unique space for our loved ones to hang out in, and I thought it would be good to do a post on some of the things we’ve done to make our guest room extra-accommodating and fun!
Closet space and hangers
You would think with all those shoulder pads, puffy sleeves, and parachute pants that there would be ample closet space in a house built in the 80s. You would be wrong. Closet space is a luxury in this house! A recent project of mine has been clearing out the guest room closets (click here for my post on decluttering if you need some help in this department!). I’ve donated a lot of what was once stored in there, and I also purchased under-bed containers to help with storage. We have 2 closets in our guest room, and I’ve tried to corral our Christmas decorations and my craft supplies to one of those closets, leaving the other mostly available for our guests. I also bought a box of nice wooden hangers just to elevate the space a little bit. If you can’t sacrifice a closet (which is understandable), at least try to clear out enough space for your guests to hang a few items or store a suitcase. If you have a spare clothing rack, you can set that up in the room while you have visitors. This one from Urban Outfitters is cute and would get the job done!
I try to think of things I would need if I were staying elsewhere when I’m stocking the guest room. One of those things is water. I always have to drink water in the middle of the night. We have a cabinet in the guest room that has bottled water in it. I’ve been thinking about getting one of the Soma Water Carafes. I could keep it in our room when we don’t have company. There’s nothing worse than hopping in the bed and realizing I don’t have any water nearby. Then, I have to try to rush to the kitchen and back in a pitch black house before the demons get me. Do you know what I mean? I’m not trying to put anyone else through that! Make sure you have glasses or cups nearby, too. This is also a great option that comes with a glass!
A bedside table
We don’t have an actual nightstand for our guest room. We have a live edge table that hangs out in the living room between two chairs with a few coasters on top. But when we have visitors, we place it next to the bed so guests can rest their phone, book, a glass of whatever — whatever they would like to have nearby.
Access to an outlet
This one seems like a no-brainer, but in our guest room, there is no easy access to an outlet because the furniture covers them all up. I purchased a cute extension cord (they exist!) from Target that typically stays under the bed. Whenever we have company, I slide the cord out by the nightstand. Dying phone batteries, rejoice!
A bedside lamp
Don’t forget, unless your visitor is a regular one, they’re not going to know how to navigate your house in the dark like you do! The walk from the door to the bed is a relatively short one in our guest room, but we still have a lamp in case someone would like to read or just have a different lighting option.
It’s good to have an extra blanket around, or even a small space heater, during the cooler months. It’s also nice to have a fan! We have a tower fan in our bedroom that runs every night (even in the winter) just for the sound. I recently picked up a cute vintage style fan from Home Goods for $25! It’s small but effective, and it has a nice little hum to it that will hopefully cancel out the sound of me scream whispering at my dogs to be quiet in the morning so our guests can sleep in.
Okay so this is the most embarrassing portion of this post, but if I'm anything, I’m honest so HERE WE GO! Chances are, your guest(s) will need to shower. Be sure to direct them to the linen closet or set out a towel for each guest in a visible spot. I made an effort to clean out the linen closet and make it look presentable, but apparently didn’t show our friends where the linen closet was or where to find the “good” towels when they were visiting. So they ended up using the towels for the dogs because those were stashed in the bathroom vanity. And when I tried to not so subtly change out their towels for nicer ones, they figured out what I was doing and what towels they had been using, and I’m pretty sure we were all horrified. I can’t tell you how many times I have apologized profusely for that event. I mean, sure - it could have been worse. It’s not like I gave them a dirty towel or a damp towel or made them share a towel or threw a roll of paper towels at them and screamed out, “GOOD LUCK!” But I was (and still kind of am) embarrassed. So now, I have a fresh towel rolled up on the bathroom vanity for each guest that's here, and I make sure to point out their towel to them. #NEVERAGAIN If you want to be extra fancy, you can have a nice set of towels specifically for guests. We just try to take extra good care of our towels (which are technically bath sheets, and if you are a tall person and don’t have bath sheets, you are missing out!).
Make sure you have comfy pillows for your guests to sleep on. Don’t give them the sad, leftover ones you don’t use anymore because they’re flattened out or old. You can get a duo pack of pillows at Home Goods for about $25 (even the fancy Ralph Lauren ones!). I like to keep pillow protectors on mine because without them dust mites, sweat, skin, bacteria, DROOL, and other gross things can seep down into your pillow. Not cute! These will extend the life of your pillow significantly and are an easy way to keep things clean and fresh!
The curtains in our guest room are light filtering, which is nice. But I want to add blinds or a pull down shade for extra privacy/room darkening purposes. Personally, I need it to be pitch black in whatever room I sleep in. Also, our neighbors across the street have turned their home into a literal parking lot (I’m talking 15 cars a night regularly parked out there). Blinds will help minimize that eyesore!
Because we’re all staring at our phones anyways, might as well do it for free, right? (I’m trying to be better, I swear!) I’ve seen some really creative ways of displaying your network info. I usually update our felt letter board with it and pop it in the guest room.
Now that you’ve got all the basics covered, here are some fun things you can incorporate to make your guest room a memorable one!
It's probably because my job requires me to be in the car all day, but snacks are my main food group. It’s a bummer being hungry in someone’s house and not having any food around! Plus, everyone is on a different schedule. My husband doesn’t eat breakfast, so he’s never hungry in the mornings. I’m hungry the second I wake up. And you never know when that midnight craving will hit! It’s a good idea to have something around so no one gets hangry. And you don’t want to make your guests feel weird having to ask you for something to eat. #awkward
I always ask what our visitors like to eat before they arrive. You can have a lot of fun with this! This could be your opportunity to show off a little local flavor and include treats from businesses around town. Bang Candy Co and Olive and Sinclair are always a hit! And did you know Moon Pies are made in TN?!
You can get playful and have a basket themed with candy and snacks from your childhood (Gushers, anyone?!). Granola bars are great for the mornings. No one turns down mints or gum And if your guest has dietary concerns, you can do trail mix or fresh fruit (just make sure you don’t forget it’s in there!!!!).
I also ask how they take their coffee or if they have a favorite drink. I love my iced coffee in the mornings (all day, really!). I don’t want anyone running around here uncaffeinated. That’s just scary! We stock the fridge and the bar with whatever we think our visitors would be into, whether that’s La Croix or a hand-selected bourbon from our fave guy at the liquor store.
We have a record player cabinet in our guest room that houses our entire record collection. We’ve got everything from Rod Stewart to Kacey Musgraves to Heart to Christmas albums. We lay out whatever records we think our house guests would be into. Also, because our guest room is closest to the living room, we can play our records and enjoy them in the rest of the house when we don't have guests! If you can’t fit an entire record player cabinet in your room, that’s okay — you can have a radio, a bluetooth speaker, or a cool nighttime sound machine! The cabinet is convenient because one side is empty until we have guests. Then, we load it up with snacks, water, and other fun things.
We always grab our favorite local magazines when we know we’re having guests (typically Nashville Scene and Native). Justin recently ordered some books specifically for the guest room that have really cool covers and play into the music theme. You can also curate a selection of books from your book shelf and place them on the nightstand. You don’t necessarily have to spend money to make things personable. Work with what you’ve got and cater it to each visitor!
It’s nice to have natural elements in any space. As an aspiring plant mom, I have learned that I can’t keep many plants in the guest room because that room doesn’t get much sun. Also, I keep the door closed at all times and have the tendency to forget about them. Sorry, plants! I have a Sansevieria in a plant stand that I keep in front of the bedroom window, and when we have visitors, I move it to the corner so it’s out of the way. When our guests leave, I put it back in front of the window.
A neon light
Not the most practical, but we love ours! Justin and I have very different decorating styles, but when he saw me looking at one on Gilt.com, he told me how much he loved it, and I don’t think I’ve ever purchased something so impulsively! We usually have that as the only light in the room when our friends first arrive, and they get a real kick out of it. Upon first seeing it, our friend Eric said, “Natalie! You can see it from the street! It looks like a bar in here!” Well, MAYBE THAT’S OUR VIBE, ERIC. Also, I like different lighting options, and the overhead light is warm and this one is cool, so you can choose your preference.
Here are some things we don’t have but I’m working on getting!
Some of my friends have an AirBnB, and they love going through their house’s guest book. Wouldn’t it be so fun to have a spot where you can look back at all your visitors and have handwritten notes of their time there? You could even toss in a polaroid camera for them to snap a fun pic or two!
Sometimes the blackout curtains aren’t enough. An eye mask would be a good way to ensure your guests get the shuteye they deserve after a long day of traveling to see you!
Okay, this one is nuts, but hear me out. When designing our guest room, I told my husband I wanted it to give off "cool hotel vibes." The first thing I do when I arrive at a hotel — no matter where I am — is put on the hotel robe and slippers and tour the room. Yes, I do realize that’s lame, but that’s who I am as a person SO DEAL WITH IT. You know how people have names for their house? I really want to get a set of robes monogrammed with “Moorhead Manor” or whatever we come up with on the back. And maybe slippers, too. I have the best mental picture of us all lounging around in our matching robes, and I just think it would be a riot.
A tour guide
Maybe your visitors aren’t friends — they’re strangers staying in your short-term rental property for a few days, and they're completely new to your city. A recommendation of your favorite neighborhood hot spots would be a great way to guide them during their stay. Where do you get your favorite cup of coffee? Is there a bar you always end up at towards the end of your evenings out on the town? Is there a restaurant nearby that hosts a popular trivia night? Yelp is great for giving you the most frequented places in a city, but there’s nothing like getting the lowdown from a local!